In their first game without Mathew Barzal, the New York Islanders found themselves trailing after 40 in huge division showdown against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And with a lot on the line, Bo Horvat, Brock Nelson and Zach Parise, along with Ilya Sorokin, brought that star power in a crucial rally to win.
All three stars had multi-point games to power the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over Pittsburgh. The Islanders are now 29-24-7 and are safely in playoff territory, while the Penguins have fallen out of playoff position.
Anders Lee-Bo Horvat-Simon Holmtrom
Zach Parise-Brock Nelson-Kyle Palmieri
Arnaud Durandeau-Casey Cizikas-Hudson Fasching
Ross Johnston-Andy Andreoff-Matt Martin
Adam Pelech-Ryan Pulock
Alexander Romanov-Scott Mayfield
Sebastian Aho-Noah Dobson
GOALS & Big Plays
Jake Guentzel gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 1-0 lead at 6:12 of the first period as he was left all alone at the back post, and Sidney Crosby found him for his 24th goal of the season.
Brock Nelson tied the game at one as he sniped Tristan Jarry for his 25th of the season on an odd-man rush. Zach Parise was credited with the primary assist.
Jason Zucker gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead on the power play at 12:26 of the second period as he banked home the puck after Jeff Petry’s point shot hit the post.
Bo Horvat struck in the third period at the 8:34 mark to even the score off a sharp-angle snipe. Hudson Fasching got the assist after jumping on a failed clear and getting the puck to No. 53, who put it home easily.
Anders Lee scored the go-ahead goal less than three minutes later at 10:15 after going to the front and tucking the puck past Tristan Jarry, whose turnover to Horvat led to the picture-perfect passing play to set up Lee. Matt Martin had the primary assist.
Nelson then sealed the deal with an empty netter at 19:35 following a nice block from Parise to keep New York in front.
Ilya Sorokin also had himself a night, stopping 44 of 46 shots (.957 save percentage) and coming up with the save of the year en route to the win.
Holmstrom Struggles on Top Line
With Barzal out, Islanders head coach Lane Lambert gave Simon Holmstrom the first crack alongside Bo Horvat and Anders Lee.
However, he struggled mightily against the Sidney Crosby line.
On the Penguins first goal, Holmstrom was lazy on the backcheck and failed to box out the goal scorer, Jake Guentzel, a double-whammy.
How about that top line? 🔥
Over the last four games (counting tonight), the top line of Guentzel-Crosby-Rakell have tallied 17 points. pic.twitter.com/zQmkTFx8qN
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 21, 2023
Holmstrom only played 3:36 on the top line before he was demoted to the bottom line alongside Ross Johnston and Andy Andreoff.
Arnaud Durandeau Makes NHL Debut
On Sunday evening, the New York Islanders recalled winger Arnaud Durandeau who had scored six goals in his last six games. The 24-year-old skated alongside Casey Cizikas and Hudson Fasching during Monday’s morning skate and led the Islanders out for warmups.
Rookie Lap for Arnaud Durandeau 👏 pic.twitter.com/iFKlEYVRra
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 20, 2023
Durandeau showed off the speed and strong positioning.
He had a prime chance on an odd-man rush with Casey Cizikas, ending his night with four shots. He also drew two penalties and played on the second power-play unit.
Nelson Stays Hot
Brock Nelson saw his 12-game point streak snapped in the 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Satuday night.
But he got back on track against the Penguins, scoring the Islanders’ opening goal to give him six goals in and six games as he sniped Jarry on an odd-man rush for his 25th of the season. He picked up his second tally on the ENG.
Brock Nelson ties the game at 1! pic.twitter.com/sOyXpDFpiN
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 21, 2023
Nelson has reached the 25-goal mark for the fifth time in his 10-year NHL career and is just two points shy of tying his career high of 59 points, which he set in 72 games last season.
He just finished game 60 with 25 goals and 31 assists.
Horvat Plays Hero, Sorokin & Parise Clutch
Horvat’s game-tying goal and leadership helped the Islanders rally, and his outstanding vision and hockey IQ helped him intercept Jarry’s pass and kick off a great passing play that led to the go-ahead goal.
He continues to be a major asset and a huge pickup that is leading New York in the right direction.
Thgen, there was Sorokin. He stood tall in goal and stunned with 44 saves on 46 shots, including this remarkable must-see save. Sorokin has been a savior this season and continues to do just that.
Parise also had a great game with two nice helpers and a crucial block at the end of the night to help the Islanders hold on.
UP NEXT: New York hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night at 7:30 PM at UBS Arena.